These are the first new (used and for the moment disassembled) combat aircraft for Serbia since 1987.
Three pairs of partially disassembled MiG-29 Fulcrum jets destined to Serbia have been transported to the Batajnica airbase, near Belgrade, Serbia, aboard an Antonov An-124 airlifter to be taken on charge by the Serbian Air Force.
The six used jets have been gifted by Russia, and will have to be overhauled and modernized before they enter service in Serbia: reportedly, the aircraft will be upgraded to the SMT standard, a multirole variant that, along with the N010M Zhuk–M radar it features a big 950-litre spine CFT (Conformal Fuel Tank), an in-flight refueling system, a “glass cockpit” and a IKSh-1M HUD (Head-Up Display). Along with the R-27T medium-range IR-guided air-to-air missiles or the extended-range R-27ER/ET AAMs, or up to six RVV-AE AAMs, the MiG-29SMT can carry “dumb” or guided air-to-surface weapons including two Kh-29T/L, up to four Kh-25M, or two Kh-31A7P missiles, or up to four KAB-500 guided bombs.
However, Serbian aviation journalist Petar Vojinovic says the MiG-29s will only get minor upgrades:
No SMT standard upgrade even talked about let alone contractually agreed. Just slight comm-nav updates for Western operations.
— Petar Vojinovic (@petarV) October 5, 2017
This is not the first time the Russia supported the Serbian Air Force’s Fulcrum operations: back in 2014, the Serbian Mig-29s returned to active service after being grounded for months, thanks to the accumulators donated by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Serbia could also receive 30 battle tanks and 30 armored vehicles donated from Russia, and it’s been negotiating the procurement of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft systems: Moscow tries to strengthen its ties with Belgrade and somehow resist NATO’s expansion in the Balkans.
According to Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin the MiG-29s will be unveiled at Batajnica during the celebration to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade in WW2 on Oct. 20.
The An-124 that carried the “new” combat aircraft to Serbia belonged to the Volga-Dnepr, an airline based in Ulyanovsk, Russia, that provides air charter services with a fleet of ten Antonov An-124, five Boeing 747-8F and five IL-76TD-90VD.
Flying back and forth to Serbia, the An-124 RA-82045 delivered the three pairs in three days: the first one was delivered on Monday Oct. 2, the second on Tuesday Oct. 3 and the last one on Wednesday Oct. 4.
All the flights could be tracked online on Flightradar24.com.
H/T Dragan Mejic for the heads-up
I think it’s cool David (or someone else?) found that flight path. From what I can see they only got close to the Ukraine border in one place, but never crossed over. Then again, if you were Russian, crazy and reckless to cross that line and really unnecessary.
A Mig 29 shot down a Tornado in Gulf War 1.
I have worked with the AN-124 in 2004-2005, when they flew supplies for USN and USAF from Norfolk air station. Its very close to C-5 but was easier for ground crew to work with. For the C-5. the best way is to load a 60k loader first then use it to load the aircraft. for the AN-124 the internal crane and the titanium reinforced floor lets the trucks just drive up and load directly. The Antonov also seamed to do the startup procedure faster.
They weren’t so “defenseless “when they brutally attacked their neighbors, which may not of been your point,but I feel it’s important to point out,both were bullies who then we’re confronted by the victims much tougher freind
I’m not defending the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, but in the the case of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia having ” brutally attacked it’s neighbors”, I really have no idea what you’re talking about and neither do you. The attack on Yugoslavia was a war crime and that’s why it was done without UN approval. Since that precedent, we have had many other raging success stories like Iraq War, Libya, Yemen, and as a result, rise of ISIS, flood of refugees and terrorism into Europe, etc. This whole world would be better off without so much “success” of the USAF.
Iraqi fighter pilots had something way more important – COMBAT flying experience. They had it and U.S. jocks, who didn’t, beat the living sh_t outta them so bad they ran their crap Russian equipment off to Iran, or buried their planes in the sand.
You need to do some bookwork. If a pilot can survive his first 5 air-to-air encounters his chances of survival go way up. Fear of the unknown disappears, and experience gained settles you in. Confidence goes up. The Iraqis had that experience from fighting the Iranians (not that Iranians are much at flying and fighting, but still) and American pilots, new to combat, still kicked their keisters straight to the gates of hell. Like shooting ducks in a pond.
It’s called superiority, we have it in many areas, and it’s what gives the USAF, USN, and USMC air-dominance over any opponent on Earth. You can have stupid opinions my off-base friend, but there ain’t no stupid facts!